Justin Williams continues to cement his legacy as one of the top Game 7 performers in the history of the game, and he is not alone. The Los Angeles Kings left little doubt as to who would advance to face the Chicago Blackhawks as they scored 5 unanswered goals in the first 35 minutes of the game and cruised to a 6-2 victory.
Williams joined some elite names like Wayne Gretzky in scoring his 6th career game 7 goal, on behind Glenn Anderson‘s 7 when he opened the scoring 4:30 into the game. He picked up the rebound of a Mike Richards shot and stuffed it past John Gibson, who didn’t have his best game, but was also hung out to dry on many occasions on this night.
Just over 4 minutes later Jeff Carter broke through the Ducks defense and put a backhander in after breaking in alone, and the rout was on. The turning point might have come 14:08 in when Corey Perry blocked a shot with his stick and went on a breakaway. During his shot attempt his stick snapped between his hands while Drew Doughty was on the backcheck. Perry was awarded a penalty shot despite Doughty’s insistence (and replay’s confirmation) that Perry’s stick was actually broken during the shot block and not the backcheck. With a chance to get the Ducks back into the game, Perry was poke-checked by Jonathan Quick on the attempt and never got a shot off.
Just over a minute later, Richards made it 3-0, driving through the Ducks defense without the puck while Dwight King‘s shot was stopped but Richards knocked the rebound in.
Gibson’s night ended just 2:02 into the second when Anze Kopitar beat him with a low snap shot to make it 4-0. It was the 4th goal allowed on just 18 shots for the Ducks rookie, and he was replaced by Jonas Hiller. Kopitar set up Gaborik in the slot to make it 5-0 14:08 into the second before Kyle Palmieri finally got to Quick late in the period.
Corey Perry and Tanner Pearson exchanged third period goals, but the writing was on the wall for the Ducks, as Teemu Selanne played the last shift of his NHL career. As a sign of respect for the well-liked legend, the Kings paused their celebration to join the Ducks players and fans in saluting the 43 year old as he acknowledged the fans and left the ice for the final time as a player.
The Kings advance to face the Blackhawks in the conference final, a rematch of last season where the Hawks beat an exhausted team in 5 games. The series will start on Sunday.